As the father of a four-year old, we’re very much in the thralls of Peppa Pig, its theme tune, and visits to Peppa Pig World, much like a certain ex-prime minister. When we close our eyes we can hear her voice. It’s fair to say we have complicated feelings about her.
What we do have positive feelings about, though, is Peppa Pig: World Adventures and the original game, My Friend Peppa Pig, both released by Petoons Studio and published by Outright Games. Because the series is a gateway for our littlest to play video games, and she has a whale of a time experiencing what is – to her – an episode of the series that she can wander about in.
We don’t take it for granted, and know how difficult it must be to capture the spirit of the TV series in a video game format. We’re eager to find out about the sorcery that makes it possible, so we donned some wellies and jumped into a muddy puddle with lead producer David Moral to ask some questions.
Hi, could you please introduce yourself and your role on Peppa Pig: World Adventures?
I am David Moral and I have worked on Peppa Pig: World Adventures as the lead producer in the development team at Petoons Studio.
Could you give us a quick rundown of the game?
Absolutely! Players can join Peppa on the trip of a lifetime and visit some of the coolest places in the world, including New York, Australia, Barcelona, and many more. They can also create their family in the game and build a house in Peppa’s neighbourhood.
What impresses most, playing Peppa Pig: World Adventures, is that it feels like you are playing an episode of the cartoon. It feels so true to the show (as a personal note, it’s why our four-year old loves it). What steps do you take to make sure it’s authentic?
What’s great for us is that Peppa is such a well-established franchise and because of that, we have a lot of reference material to work off. We work closely with our friends at Hasbro and they send us style and brand guidelines to follow at the start of the project so we can ensure that all sets, props and characters are in line with the brand. They give us regular feedback during the making of the game and they also approve everything so we know what we’re making will be in the style and tone of the show.
Another equally important factor in achieving this similarity to the series has been the dedication of our team (especially artists and animators) to watch many episodes of the series (and I mean many!) to internalise both the visual and animation style, as well as the tone and values of the franchise.
As for the music, there is a mix of licensed music from the show (which fans will surely recognize), and original music created by our composer. He did an amazing job in creating tunes that could come from the episodes themselves – I challenge your four-year old to tell the two types apart!
At the scripting stage, we were lucky to work with a scriptwriter who had experience working on the franchise, and on top of that, actual writers from the show help us to make sure we got the right tone for all the characters.
The biggest change from My Friend Peppa Pig is the noticeboard, where you choose an area to explore, rather than walk and explore there yourself. What led to that decision? Was it an observation from how children were playing the first game?
The world design in My Friend Peppa Pig was one of the most interesting aspects of the game, as well as being very innovative for a video game aimed at such a young audience. It was very satisfying to see that it worked so well, and that despite being such a non-linear world, the little ones were able to move through it surprisingly well and independently.
For Peppa Pig: World Adventures it was inevitable to structure the world differently; as you travel around the globe, it wouldn’t make sense to transition to such different locations by just walking toward the end of the screen.
That’s why we thought it was a great opportunity to present a different experience, in which the trips consist of self-contained spaces that are varied from each other, and can be accessed in any order you want from the start! One of the most exciting parts of the adventure is checking Captain Otter’s board at the harbour and seeing all the different places you can go at your own pace.
With new features like the noticeboard, how important is it that you see it being played by younger players? Do you spend a lot of time testing it with those groups before launch?
Creating games for such a young audience is definitely a challenge, because as you can guess, the team behind the development are all adults and usually play different types of video games. Throughout the process, it was key to keep in mind what kind of game we were creating and who was actually going to play it. As adults, it is very easy to fall into the trap of creating what you would like or find most interesting, but children between 3 and 6 years old have very different tastes and limitations.
One of the strongest examples is that adults get tired quickly of the simple controls, and it bothers them when the game doesn’t offer much replayability and becomes repetitive. However, for children, accessible controls are a necessity as they are still learning to perform more complex actions and they love to replay the game and watch the cinematics dozens of times. This is much like how they engage with the show, any family with a toddler knows they love to watch the same episode of Peppa Pig countless times!
There have been many factors that have helped us to create a solid and enjoyable experience for the target audience. We already started with the knowledge we gained with My Friend Peppa Pig, as well as having a development team that has also worked on other games with a similar target audience (such as PJ Masks: Heroes of the Night).
Also, nobody knows more about making video games for children than Outright Games and their support is incredibly helpful. This is especially true with playtesting sessions they organise mid-development, where we were able to get clear and direct feedback from a group of children who play a version of the game very early on, where the basic structure and first locations are set up. In this report, we gain insights into their experience with the game in general, and particularly with the structure of the world and travel. Thanks to conducting this study in advance, we can apply the feedback to make the game more understandable and enjoyable for the players.
In Peppa Pig: World Adventures you don’t only customise your character, as you did in My Friend Peppa Pig, but you customise your parent(s) and house too. What made you zero in on those particular elements?
One of the most important pieces of feedback we received from My Friend Peppa Pig was that the customisation of your own avatar was one of the most popular and enjoyable features for children. For Peppa Pig: World Adventures we wanted to build on that and introduce more customisation options, not just for the player’s own avatar but for the house players can create in Peppa’s neighbourhood and their family.
With the first game, the way we designed the menus was clear and intuitive for younger players, and we thought it was very important to give them more opportunities to be creative and express themselves in their own way.
We loved that your parents don’t have to be the same animal as you, and that you can have a single parent or two parents. You can be a rabbit and have a single fox father, for example! Are these moves to make Peppa Pig: World Adventures more inclusive?
Diversity and inclusion are very important to everyone involved in this project, and we believe it is essential that these values are implemented in a very organic way to play our part in normalising all the different types of families that exist in the real world. It wouldn’t have made sense to implement this feature if there are children who play the game and aren’t able to represent their own family in the game.
The show featured a same-sex couple of two polar bears in an episode that aired in 2022, so we’re really happy to see more diverse characters take part in the world of Peppa Pig.
In the game, you can have up to two parents and you can choose their species, gender, skin colour and clothing colour (the same goes for the siblings). We loved giving players the freedom to create any type of family, also because it’s much more fun this way!
What made you choose the locations that are in Peppa Pig: World Adventures?
As the first game focused more on locations in and around Peppa’s home, we wanted to add new and different locations to this game. There are several episodes from the show where Peppa travels to different parts of the world, and it became instantly clear that this was the direction we wanted to take.
These new locations opened up a host of possibilities for new adventures, offering more varied gameplay and very different atmospheres. It also allowed us to build on the open-world design from the first game but with a new approach.
There is a very deftly handled sequence where the family meets Queen Elizabeth II. Could you tell us the story of what it was like to have that sequence in game when she passed, and how the team adapted to it?
The Queen made very special appearances in the Peppa Pig TV show, most prominently in the beloved episode where Miss Rabbit is given the Queen’s Award for Industry and Peppa accompanies her to the palace, and a later episode where Peppa meets her again along with the Playgroup kids in London.
As part of the globe-trotting adventures in the game, early in development we decided to re-create the London episode where the Queen accompanies the characters on a grand tour around the city by bus. The adventure concludes with jumping in puddles with the Queen, which will be very familiar to fans of the show and was a very special way for us to pay her a deserved tribute.
The Queen very sadly passed away during production of the game, which was very shocking to all of us. We made the decision to keep her section included in the game to honour her legacy and the joy she brought to Peppa Pig fans across the world. The London trip is one of my personal favourites, so I’m sure that everyone will have a great time learning about London’s landmarks with the Queen.
What is your approach with voice-acting in the Peppa Pig games. Children from around the world know and expect very specific (and different) voices. How do you try to meet that need?
The voice acting of the characters in the series is one of the central features, as it brings a lot of personality and defines the distinctive tone of the show. For the game, it was very important to have Peppa’s real voice, as it is the most recognisable of all the characters, and being the character that always accompanies you, it was essential that she sounded like the real Peppa. We also worked with other voice actors from the series; however, it was complicated to have them all on board for various reasons, so we collaborated with substitutes who have done an exceptional job.
How has the launch of Peppa Pig: World Adventures gone? Are you seeing the same level of success as My Friend Peppa Pig?
We’re very pleased with the reception to the game from both fans and the press. We’ve seen lots of great feedback from families playing together, those playing as their first video game, and older kids playing the game because they loved the show a few years ago. It’s very reassuring to see that the players have noticed the improvement from the first game in terms of design and visuals, and definitely gives us the confidence to keep working hard.
For sure, the most rewarding part is when all the hard work everyone has put into this project is reflected in the joy it’s bringing everyone around the world. We’re very glad players are enjoying it as much as we enjoyed making it.
Is this the start of a Peppa Pig saga? Where else could the series go?
We’d love to make more Peppa games; it’s a franchise that opens up a lot of possibilities and there are so many more elements of the show that would be super fun to recreate. Watch this space!
My Friend Peppa Pig eventually found a home on Game Pass. Is that a future you can see for Peppa Pig: World Adventures?
At the moment, there is nothing confirmed for Game Pass for this game. If there is the possibility to make it happen in the future we will make sure to announce it through all our channels.
My daughter wants to know if you could make a Peppa Pig karting game? Very specifically, she says that Mr Potato MUST be a playable character. I’m leaving that with you…
Noted – we’ll see what we can do! But… should it be in 2D or 3D?
And finally, do you have the theme tune in your head as much as we do?
More than you do, definitely!
If you’re reading this David Moral, the answer is a 3D karting game. We’ll take that as a commitment to one, and we expect it in the next few years.
Peppa Pig: World Adventures is out now and our review is live – we commended it for everything but some frustrating graphical glitches. Still, if you have a loved one who is partial to some Peppa, then we recommend it, even for its flaws.
Huge thanks go out to David for giving us some time to run this interview. You can find the Peppa Pig games on Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch and PC. We’ll point you to the Xbox Store pages for My Friend Peppa Pig and Peppa Pig: World Adventures. Both games are playable on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S.